After the Move: A Noonday Ambassador’s Journey
The night before my husband left our home in Boston for Los Angeles to start his new job, we tucked the kids in together, packed his impossibly large suitcase, and sat on the couch to go over al the moving details. He’d go before our family and get settled in his new position as associate pastor of New City church and I would have the apartment packed up before he returned to load up our moving van. He’d find us a good place to live with an open plan for hosting, plenty of outdoor space for the kids, and pet-friendly for our black cat, Broadway. I’d begin the long process of saying goodbye to Boston, goodbye to the people, goodbye to the snow, goodbye to Harvard Square where our kids played almost every weekend, and goodbye to the FANTASTIC public transit – we were trading in our T-pass for a fuel efficient Mazda. The Type-A in me was so pleased with all our progress – until we got to our final line item, my Noonday business.
“Babes,” I started – I call him Babes, he calls me Babers, a relic from our “unconventional” season when we tried every variation of “Babe” from “Babenstein” to “Baberino.” “What about Noonday?” I asked. “The new line’s coming out – should I buy new samples?”
He looked at me as if I had asked him if we should leave behind a child, or even worse, the cat. “Babers? Why wouldn’t you buy samples? You’re an Ambassador! It’s part of your job to have pieces from the new line. How can you advocate for the Artisans if you don’t have a good sample of their work?”
The incredulity in his voice warmed my heart. He got it. Noonday was more than a hobby, it was my job and even more than that, working in partnership with these Artisans was my mission. I had the network to sell their work, and they had the talent – combined we made a world-changing team.
“But, you know, when I get out there to LA, I won’t know anyone. And even worse, I’m the pastor’s wife – how do I navigate friendships and Noonday and ministry… I’m stressed out just saying it out loud!” I groaned.
He leaned over and kissed my temple and said, “By being yourself and by naming the elephant in the room that you’re new but you’re also passionate about Noonday and to know you means that on some level, they’ll learn about Noonday. You got into this because you wanted to tell the Artisans’ stories right?”
I did a so-so motion with my hand, “That and the super cute jewelry.”
He chuckled, “Yes, well of course…but just relax. Don’t force it and don’t be anxious about it. Wear your jewelry when you go out and when people compliment the pieces just share your heart. No one will blame an authentic person. ” He wrapped his arm around me and I put my notebook down, I nestled into the nook of his arms. “Babers, you’ll be fine. It’ll take time, but I promise you, the right people will cross your path and when they do, you’ll know how to share Noonday.”
We were sitting in a coffee shop in Old Town Pasadena talking about adoption and family and transitioning to a new city in the middle of the school year. My new friend, Lisa, a leader in our church, invited me out for coffee to welcome me to LA. Moving to a new city is difficult. On the one hand, you’re excited about all the new – new friends, new church, new grocery store, new Starbucks baristas to befriend. But on the other hand, there’s a poignant sadness from having to start all over again. Lisa inviting me out for coffee was just the lifeline I needed and when we started talking about passion and calling, telling her about my involvement in Noonday was as effortless as telling her about my favorite restaurant in Boston. After I told her about my favorite pieces from Ethiopia and that I share the Artisans’ stories at really fun parties called Trunk Shows, she hummed in approval and then the conversation naturally turned to her passions. I loved that conversation because it was reciprocal – just two women trying to make a big difference with the small offerings we have.
Two months later the ground quaked and split in Nepal. The country was in crisis and the Noonday Ambassador community was rallying around the Nepali Artisans that make our beloved Dhaka bag. I reached out to Lisa because she had mentioned that the devastation was breaking her heart. I asked if she wanted to partner together to throw a Trunk Show to raise money to send to World Vision. I planned to donate my commission from the show to the cause and she rallied her community to come learn how to harness their purchasing power for those in need.
The Noonday Trunk Show was the first “girls gathering” for the women in Lisa’s small group. I told them to come in their favorite outfits and I would style them in Noonday’s amazing pieces. My eight-year-old daughter wanted in on the fun too, so she came as my sidekick and helper.
After we ate and I had talked about the Artisans we partners with in Nepal, I shared the Noonday mission to build a flourishing world. A world where women are empowered, children are cherished, people have jobs and we are all connected.
It was great to share that aspect of the vision behind my Noonday business, but I also had a blast helping the women in attendance feel beautiful and stylish. I styled a college student for three scenarios: the farmer’s market, coffee with friends, and going to class.
Then I showed the versatility of the Rachel and Adrift Necklaces.
But my best model was the baby of a dear friend who had moved away, had her baby, and then moved back to LA. Everyone was thrilled when they walked in the door! She looked pretty great in my Afar Necklace, but mama looked even better!
Inspired by her ability to create a marketplace for our artisan partners, one of the women who attended booked another show for her friends and family! Another woman is considering becoming an Ambassador with a specific desire to share the Noonday mission with Latina women and to invite them to shop with purpose. It was an amazing show I was so glad I didn’t give up before moving to LA.
At the end of the show the ladies left and Lisa and I packed up together. As she was helping me load my car she said, “Today was really special, Osheta. Thank you for showing us Noonday and sharing the stories of the Artisans with us – everyone loved it.”
Tears pricked my eyes as I remembered my husband’s encouragement the night before his big move: “The right people will cross your path and when they do, you’ll know how to share Noonday.” I was grateful for not only the new friendship I had with Lisa but the opportunity to share why Noonday is my passion. It’s women like Lisa and her small group who make being an Ambassador a joy – and the best job a woman could ever have.